If you listen to NPR or The New York Times, you’ve surely heard Stephens-Davidowitz talk about Big Data. You’re probably well aware of his often-profiled work on racism and sexual habits. He makes short work of how surveys over and under report compared to Google searches, and calms readers that in fact we can discount Facebook when worrying that are friends are smarter, more sophisticated, and wealthier than we are. But data can do way more than that – it can explain our undying fanhood for sports teams and our political affiliations. And while winning the lottery does, long-term, make people happier (defying my pronouncements), the real story is that if you’re best option if your next-door neighbor wins the lottery is to move; otherwise you have a larger-than-normal chance of declaring bankruptcy. Folks like me who like data-driven economics and behavioral psychology books will enjoy Everybody Lies, a book is always insightful, and when the topic allows it, is also laugh-out-loud funny.— Daniel Goldin
Foreword by Steven Pinker
Blending the informed analysis of The Signal and the Noise with the instructive iconoclasm of Think Like a Freak, a fascinating, illuminating, and witty look at what the vast amounts of information now instantly available to us reveals about ourselves and our world--provided we ask the right questions.
By the end of an average day in the early twenty-first century, human beings searching the internet will amass eight trillion gigabytes of data. This staggering amount of information--unprecedented in history--can tell us a great deal about who we are--the fears, desires, and behaviors that drive us, and the conscious and unconscious decisions we make. From the profound to the mundane, we can gain astonishing knowledge about the human psyche that less than twenty years ago, seemed unfathomable.
Everybody Lies offers fascinating, surprising, and sometimes laugh-out-loud insights into everything from economics to ethics to sports to race to sex, gender and more, all drawn from the world of big data. What percentage of white voters didn't vote for Barack Obama because he's black? Does where you go to school effect how successful you are in life? Do parents secretly favor boy children over girls? Do violent films affect the crime rate? Can you beat the stock market? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives and who's more self-conscious about sex, men or women?
Investigating these questions and a host of others, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz offers revelations that can help us understand ourselves and our lives better. Drawing on studies and experiments on how we really live and think, he demonstrates in fascinating and often funny ways the extent to which all the world is indeed a lab. With conclusions ranging from strange-but-true to thought-provoking to disturbing, he explores the power of this digital truth serum and its deeper potential--revealing biases deeply embedded within us, information we can use to change our culture, and the questions we're afraid to ask that might be essential to our health--both emotional and physical. All of us are touched by big data everyday, and its influence is multiplying. Everybody Lies challenges us to think differently about how we see it and the world.